FWC and Florida Forest Service partner to expand Seminole State Forest
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Forest Service have acquired approximately 150 acres to expand the boundaries of Seminole State Forest in Lake County.
The FFS manages approximately 28,600 acres at Seminole State Forest in the northwestern portion of the Wekiva River Basin. Portions of Seminole State Forest are maintained as a wildlife management area by the FWC. The newly added tract is part of the Wekiva-Ocala Greenway, which is part of the Florida Forever program that has acquired hundreds of thousands of acres for conservation and public enjoyment of the state’s natural resources since 2001.
The acquired tract includes scrub habitat occupied by Florida scrub-jays, a federally-listed threatened species, and conservation of this tract will bolster the scrub-jay population at the Seminole State Forest. Other imperiled species present and listed as threatened are state-listed gopher tortoises, federally-listed eastern indigo snakes and wood storks, and several federally-listed plant species, such as the giant orchid.
The long-term management of the tract through practices including prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, and nonnative invasive species control will allow for the continuing protection of the tract’s scrub communities and wildlife.
The acquisition was made possible by funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Land Acquisition program, which helps conserve habitat for endangered species, as well as funds from the FFS Florida Forever acquisition program.